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Sheriff says no to heroin addicts in nursing homes

HAMILTON, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- Butler Co. Sheriff Richard K. Jones said Friday he's opposed to a proposal that would allow heroin addicts to detox in the county-owned nursing home.

"We need to do something but the county home is not the facility. They're not equipped for it," Sheriff Jones said. Jones said a privately owned facility would be a better option - not a county run facility.

"It's not the place for someone during the senior years of their life to have to contend with somebody that will do anything for these drugs. They'll steal, they'll hurt you," Jones said.

Sheriff Jones said he see what people addicted to heroin go through every day when they detox in his jail. He doesn't believe the Butler Co. Care center has the proper security of staff to deal with heroin addicts.
But County Commissioner Cindy Carpenter said the center would hire and addiction specialist, use drugs such as Vivitrol and Suboxone to ease withdrawal symptoms and addicts would be carefully screened.

"The county will be able to determine if the individual is someone we're willing to help in our facility. So it will not be as if any person can come to the door and walk-in and say, 'Hey, I want to detox here today.' It's a very structured setting," Carpenter said.

Carpenter said about 20% of the residents of the home have chemical dependency issues that led to health problems. Local 12 News spoke with a handful of people who live at the center. Most didn't know what they thought of the proposal. But resident Tracy Day said she supports it.

"I think that there's a lot of people out there that are on drugs or are alcoholics that need help and there's certainly not enough places for help in Butler County," Day said.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Jones said seniors, the poor and heroin addicts are not a good combination.

"It's like mixing oil and water. It will not mix," Jones said.

Local 12 News reached out to the director of the center but calls were not returned.

Concerns about security and other issues will be addressed at a county commission meeting next month.

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